In the early 1900s, a man named Jeremiah Rice falls off a ship and is assumed drowned. Over a hundred years later, scientists chip their way into an iceberg and discover his frozen corpse. Then they slowly thaw him out, hook him up to a bunch of electrodes, shock the bejesus out of him, and he miraculously comes back to life. Now tell me that’s not a book you want to read! Right?!?!
(In the book, all these events are related in a much more scientific and accurate manner. I’m simply trying to hit the highlights of the premise to create a buzz.)
The story is a great example of science accelerating faster than ethics. Who had time before reanimating a 100-year-old man to ask questions, anyway? Who cares if he doesn’t want to be reawakened? Why would it matter that his entire family is now dead? And the most pressing question, how long exactly will this second chance at life last?
Narration rotates between characters, chapter by chapter. One perspective is that of Dr. Kate Philo, a researcher on the team that finds the frozen man, who eventually falls in love with him. Another narrator is Erastus Carthage, the egomaniacal and tyrannical leader of the aptly, if self-importantly, named Lazarus Project. We also get the dubious honor of being inside the head of Daniel Dixon, a sloppy, horny, cowardly small-time journalist who is covering the story of the reanimated man. His chapters are cringeworthy, completely over-the-top in making certain we know he is an irredeemable scumbag. Finally, we also get the unique perspective of the frozen man himself, Jeremiah Rice, antiquated turns of phrase and all.
Of course, the experiment skids out of control quickly, pretty much as soon as Rice decides to live as a man and not a research subject. Carthage is unable to see him as anything but a lab rat, while Kate is crushing so hard, she’s forgotten she was ever in this for the science. Dixon, after some aimless douchebaggery, eventually creates genuine suspense with his quest to expose the secrets of the project.
Bottom line: Read this book, and then make arrangements to have yourself cryogenically frozen, because hey, you never know.